This film is neither preachy nor pedantic, and was a welcome surprise for me. As a non-Christian who nevertheless respects the historical figure of Jesus Christ and the beauty of his philosophy and teachings, I found The Passion to be a powerful portrayal of much that I think is worthwhile about the Christ story. I know the film has been maligned for anti-semitic content (perhaps because Jews make mistakes in the film and are seen as persecutors instead of victims? - it could have been anybody!), and for various other problems - but let's face it - any movie portraying this subject was bound to face strong reactions. And kudos to Mel Gibson for not shying away from the subject by creating a sterile, gutless, Disney story out of what really was a good example of the everyday horror of life on the fringes of the Roman empire. Gibson invents a new genre with The Passion - that of historical horror.
The performances in this film are inspired. I felt that the film brought out the cowardice of the apostles very forcefully, and the courage and love of the two Maries in Jesus' life was palpable to the very end. The effect of Aramaic and Latin, with the moody soundtrack, was spellbinding. Again kudos to Mel Gibson for his courage and artistic integrity on the decisions involved in these elements of the film.
Final word - this is not a film for the whole family nor is it a feel-good film. Don't see it if you're not willing to confront the worst aspects of human nature up close. And don't go in looking for your own version of the story - it's not your film! This is what Mr. Gibson believes, and it's his own revelation, not necessarily to be shared by all.
The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ
A depiction of the last twelve hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. The story opens in the Garden of Olives where Jesus has gone to pray after the Last Supper. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, the controversial Jesus--who has performed 'miracles' and has publicly announced that he is 'the Son of God'--is arrested and taken back within the city walls of Jerusalem. There, the leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy; subsequently, his trial results with the leaders condemning him to his death. Jesus is brought before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine, for his sentencing. Pilate listens to the accusations leveled at Jesus by the Pharisees. Realizing that his own decision will cause him to become embroiled in a political conflict, Pilate defers to King Herod in deciding the matter of how to persecute Jesus. However, Herod returns Jesus to Pilate who, in turn, gives the crowd a choice between which prisoner they would rather to see set free--Jesus, or Barrabas. The crowd chooses to have Barrabas set free. Thus, Jesus is handed over to the Roman soldiers and is brutally flagellated. Bloody and unrecognizable, he is brought back before Pilate who, once again, presents him to the thirsty crowd--assuming they will see that Jesus has been punished enough. The crowd, however, is not satisfied. Thus, Pilate washes his hands of the entire dilemma, ordering his men to do as the crowd wishes. Whipped and weakened, Jesus is presented with the cross and is ordered to carry it through the streets of Jerusalem, all the way up to Golgotha. There, more corporal cruelty takes place as Jesus is nailed to the cross--suffering, he hangs there, left to die. Initially, in his dazed suffering, Jesus is alarmed that he has been abandoned by God his father. He then beseeches God. At the moment of his death, nature itself over-turns.
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May 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm